A new wave of bombings and attacks in Iraq, especially one at Tarmiya targetting Awakening Council members that may have left nearly a dozen people dead and scores wounded (one US soldier was killed and 2 were wounded)
Georgia is pulling its 2000 troops out of Iraq. They had been interdicting arms shipments from Iran to the Shiite militias in Eastern Iraq, so this puts new pressure on US troops.
AP reports that Iraqi foreign minister Hoshyar Zebari is confirming that any status of forces agreement between Iraq and the US must include a timeline for US troop withdrawal. It is interesting that Zebari, a Kurd, is on board now with this demand, which the Arab members of PM Nuri al-Maliki’s government have been voicing for the past few months. Kurds had earlier typically been eager for the US to stay in Iraq, but it may be that the complicated conflict between them and Turkey, and general US support for Turkey against the PKK guerrillas in Northern Iraq, has soured them on the US.
WaPo says that US officials are less optimistic than Iraqi ones that any final deal is near to being accomplished.
Grand Ayatollah Kazim al-Haeri, the fifth of the top Shiite leaders respected by Iraqis, condemned any status of forces agreement as a surrender of Iraqi sovereignty. Al-Haeri lives in exile in Qom, Iran, refusing to dwell under foreign military occupation. He is generally followed by members of the Sadr Movement.
CSM says that one reason Muqtada al-Sadr is pulling back his Mahdi Army is a shortage of volunteers and of arms, and that the public has been identifying Sadrist guerrillas to the US and the Iraqi Army. I wonder. Has al-Maliki managed to interfere with oil smuggling down at Basra enough to affect Sadr’s finances? Would explain the shortage of volunteers bit. You also have to wonder if Iran has pulled back funding for the special group cells inside the Mahdi Army, as a quid pro quo for Bush to negotiate seriously with them . . .
So much for the Neocons’ plans to privatize the Iraqi economy. 35% of the labor force is now employed by the government and it is heading toward 40% this year. The latter was typical of economies in the old Soviet bloc. Oil states in the Middle East tend to have huge public sectors this way, including Saudi Arabia. If kick-starting a capitalist revolution in the Middle East really was one of the reasons Bush & the Neocons wanted to overthrow the Baath Government, well that was another pipe dream that has now evaporated in the face of reality.
Reuters reports that “Iraq’s oil minister will visit China before the end of August to try and finalize a deal to develop the Ahdab oilfield south of Baghdad and build a power station nearby …” The deal, while it will be renegotiated, had been concluded in 1997 by the old Baath government.
McClatchy reports political violence on Sunday in Iraq:
Two Iraqis (two soldiers and two civilians) were injured by a roadside bomb that targeted a patrol of the Iraqi army in Zayuna neighborhood in east Baghdad around 7:30 a.m.
Two civilians were killed and ten others were injured by a roadside bomb near al Kamaliya mosque in Kamaliyah neighborhood in east Baghdad around 8:00 a.m.
Three Iraqi soldiers were injured by a roadside bomb that targeted a joint convoy of Iraqi army and US army near Salahuddin intersection in Kadhemiyah neighborhood in north Baghdad around 9:00 a.m.
Two security members working for an Iraqi private security company and two other civilians were injured by a roadside bomb that targeted one of the cars of the security company in Amil neighborhood in west Baghdad around 10:00 a.m.
An Iraqi soldier was killed and five others were injured by a parked car bomb in Mada’in town in south Baghdad around 11:00 a.m.
Three people (1 Iraqi soldier and 2 civilians) were killed and ten other people (4 Iraqi soldiers and 6 civilians) were injured by a roadside bomb that targeted a patrol of the Iraqi army near al Tahreer intersection in downtown Baghdad around 11:00 a.m.
Ten people (6 civilians, 3 Sahwa members and an American soldier) were killed and twenty other people (13 civilians, 4 Sahwa members and 3 US soldiers)were wounded a suicide bomber wearing an explosive vest detonated himself in Tarmiyah north of Baghdad around 2:00 p.m. US military confirmed the incident saying that one US soldier was killed and two others wounded.
Police found three unidentified bodies in Baghdad including a female body. The bodies were found in Ni’ariyah (the female body), Palestine Street and Shoala.
Three civilians were killed and twenty other people including members from the Kurdish security forces known as Asayish were injured in a suicide car bomb near the office of the district commissioner of Khanaqeen city northeast of Baquba around 11:00 a.m.’